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S’head Bay man is a tennis ace

Over the past 15 years, a great many faces have changed both in personnel, management and even the players at the United States Open Tennis Championships. However, one person has remained in the same capacity year in and year out and will return when the tournament starts on Arthur Ashe/Kids Day on August 23 and goes for a two-week stand.

This person will once again be back on Court 11 right outside the Grand Stand and Arthur Ashe Stadium of the Billie Jean King United States Tennis Association National Tennis Center in Queens.

His name is Barry Goldsmith, a resident of Sheepshead Bay and well-known in tennis circles, especially in this borough. He has been stationed at this court for the last 12 years and expects to be there once again.

“My responsibilities are being an usher, and working in security on Court 11,” said Goldsmith. “If anybody needs first aide, I’m there to provide it. Every odd game I allow the people to come in. When play starts I pull the chain. I try to get in as many people as possible because there are very exciting matches here on Court 11.”

Goldsmith, also a teaching pro at Marine Park, must arrive at his job in Flushing at 9:30 a.m. during the first week and finish around 11:00 p.m.

“One year when I first started, I escorted out the players from the locker room to the main stadium, and during the time when I worked at the US Open I witnessed many great matches,” he said.

Over the years many matches have gone five sets and have drawn capacity crowds of at least 5,000 fans to the stadium. And many times they could have lasted five hours.

“One year, I took Alex Corretja off the court after he lost to Pete Sampras in a memorable match,” remembered Goldsmith. “And one time after I took Edberg [Stefan] to the dining room, [the fans] gave him a standing ovation. There was no way I could avoid the crowd. The people in the dining room stood up….Another time came when I went into the locker room to get Michael Chang to go on to the court, I saw him jump rope. He said ‘I’m not ready.’ He jumped for about 10 minutes. He was fabulous, like a pro boxer doing it-he was agile, quick, and jumping fast.”

He was working during the time when Andre Agassi, Sampras, Todd Martin, Jim Courier and Chang-some great Americans were competing.

He had seen some great matches while working at the US Open. He recalled a tremendous match between Agassi and Sampras with the latter winning,, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, and because of the use of the tie-breaker nobody lost serve. That match came about six years ago.

He also recalled a five set match that went five hours when Chang defeated John McEnroe, thus marking the latter’s last match he would ever play in the US Open singles tournament.

“It’s the greatest place to be for two weeks,” Goldsmith said recently after giving a lesson at Marine Park. “It’s the center of tennis in the world. People come to watch the matches from all over.”

As for the upcoming singles tournament, Goldsmith expects that Roger Federer, the best player in the world, will win the men’s singles title. But American Andy Roddick has to be up there.

“I can’t predict an upset,” he said. “A lot has to do with the making of the draw.”

Comparing tennis now with years ago, tennis is more of an international sport than it was years ago.

“It’s become more popular because of satellite dishes and kids from all over the world are taking to the sport,” added Goldsmith, one of two United States Tennis Association Master Professionals Teachers in New York City with that title and about 125 of 10,000 teachers in the world. “There are only three Americans – John Isner, Paul Goldstein and Benjamin Becker who have graduated from college on the pro circuit. You can’t stay in college and really make it.”

A product of Sheepshead Bay High School and Brooklyn College, Goldsmith coached at Midwood and South Shore high schools, and Long Island University, and for the last 26 years at Kingsborough Community College, where he was named national junior college coach of the year in 1998. He retired from teaching physical education in 2001 after serving 37 years in the PSAL.

After the US Open, Goldsmith will return to teaching at Marine Park and to KCC, where he will coach the women’s team in the fall.

In addition, Goldsmith has been selected to be the men’s and women’s coach of the Maccebi Games in the 65, 70, and 75 age brackets. He is also helping to recruit the teams tryouts for players under 65. Tryouts will be held in early November at the Boca Raton 2008 Hotel and players over 65 will be based on their rank The Maccebi Games will be played next July.

“This is the first year I’ve even coached the Maccebis,” Goldsmith said. “I’m excited to be coach. It’s some thing I’ve always wanted to do. My goal is to win a Gold Medal as coach.”

For more information on the Maccebi team, call 917-751-2488.

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